State Senator Frank Shurden says a recent poll shows most Oklahomans favor the idea of deciding whether to allow cockfighting by county option. The poll also revealed an overwhelming majority believes the penalties included in the State Question approved last November are too harsh.
"I want to applaud the citizens who voiced their opinions in this poll. It just supports what I've said all along; the penalties are far too harsh. They would put honest, hard-working Oklahomans in the same category as an armed robber or drug dealer. Those Oklahomans also said it should be up to each individual county to decide whether they want to ban cockfighting. That's an option they weren't given on November's ballot, but I intend to," said Shurden, D-Henryetta.
Last month Senator Shurden announced his plans to introduce legislation addressing those concerns.
"Out of 77 counties, 57 opposed making cockfighting illegal. Under my bill, cockfighting would remain illegal in the 20 counties that voted for the State Question. It would be legal in the other 57, but any county could have a vote to change their status on the issue," explained Shurden.
Senator Shurden's legislation would also change the penalties for cockfighting from a felony to a misdemeanor, as well as removing all penalties for related activities including raising gaming birds.
"I'm elated that common sense is prevailing on this issue as evidenced by the results of this poll. It's my hope that the members of the House and the Senate will give it serious consideration when it's time to vote on my legislation this session," said Shurden.